ANOHNI Honors Renowned Intersex Performer Dr. Julia Yasuda

Who’d have known about her being XXY, did you? By all accounts it appears this aspect of her life was never published, or if it was it was done before our time, this kind of resonates with Caroline Cossey the James Bond girl (For Your Eyes Only) who following that movies release the press exposed her as being XXXY, a couple of interviews followed and then nothing more since that time, I guess people just get on with their lives as best they can? But, it’s also worth remembering those were different times and although Julia and Caroline might have been proud of their Intersex status, society wasn’t and still has quite a way to go in that department.

As for being XXY or variant, it’s not a death sentence in or of itself but, can certainly fling a couple of obstacles in your path that sometimes might make it seem that way.
Rest in peace.

This month, transcendent artist and musician ANOHNI presented a play she wrote, directed and scored at NYC’s legendary non-profit arts space, The Kitchen, entitled SHE WHO SAW BEAUTIFUL THINGS — a two-act performance art piece made in memory of renowned intersex performer, model, activist, and mathematician, Dr. Julia Yasuda, who died July 2018 at age 75. The show built upon the first draft of this work, appearing initially in 1996 with the thesis: “a hermaphrodite searches for her parents in an apocalyptic landscape.”

ANOHNI’s love for Yasuda began with a mid-’90s introduction to her through the late New York trans artist and activist, Chloe Dzubilo, who wrote plays with and for ANOHNI’s Blacklips Performance Cult, and edited the group’s zine, Leif Sux. Upon meeting, the two bonded deeply, and Yasuda became ANOHNI’s muse for the next 20+ years. She was one of the three founding members of The Johnsons in 1995, named after Marsha P. Johnson, and performed both as a central protagonist in their plays and onstage during the group’s musical sets, often appearing as a mystical, ghostly presence.

The group produced four albums from 2002 to 2010 and toured internationally. Yasuda also starred in several of ANOHNI’s music videos, up until “Obama” in 2016 from her solo debut, 2015’s Hopelessness. In her final years, she modelled for art photographer Alice O’Malley while living on Fire Island. Yasuda took her own life on July 23, 2018, following a struggle with chronic pain, related to her cerebral palsy and Klinefelter’s Syndrome diagnoses.

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